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FISH REEL 2017 – Fishing Cinema Reel

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It has been a few years since our last FISH REEL. We originally started the “Fish Reel” back in 2011 to showcase some of our favorite shots in one short video. Well we’re back and so are the Fish Reels! These were some of our favorite shots from the past couple years.

Leave us a comment, let us know what you think and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel for our most recent uploads.

 

Travis

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10 Great Online Fishing Films

fishing, film, montana, trout

Fly fishing film.  It’s come a long ways in the last five years yet also remained surprisingly stagnant.  Technology has helped put the tools to create great film in almost everyone’s hands and documenting the sport has never been easier.  With a younger crowd pushing into the industry the look and feel of the content has slowly began to shift.  On the other hand it seems little progress has been made towards new and creative content.  Each year’s film tour is filled with the same storylines, slow-mo tarpon jumps, and exotic locations only the rich or connected few will ever see.  Some would disagree but hey that’s just my opinion.  The emergence of quality fishing films really started about 5-6 years ago in my opinion and since then there have been thousands of films made.  As filmmakers we continually look to progress the realm of fishing films and to some extent I think we have although not without ruffling a few feathers.  The fishing community can be a touchy bunch.  As such though we try to keep an eye on what other films are coming out and we appreciate the work others put into promoting the sport of fly fishing.  At the end of the day that is really what fishing film should be about, promoting the sport and passion for catching fish and as a result of that passion we want to protect the places those fish live.  With that said here are 10 of our favorites from over the years.  Over half of them are now two years old and to me that says something, I’ll let you interpret the meaning for yourselves.  Without further ado watch, enjoy and please leave me a comment below with your thoughts on remarkable fishing films you feel we may have overlooked!

Trout Is All

Rolf Nylinder is one exceptional filmmaker and storyteller.  He graces this list twice and for good reason.  His films have style and this film merges much of why we trout fish into one beautiful short film.  No egos, just fishing, beautiful places and rising trout.

Double Down

Shot five years ago this film is one that hasn’t lost any appeal since then.  Still moody as ever and filled with great fish and some great shots.  The underwater shot a 2:00 is still a personal favorite.

Mighty Mouse

Mice, trout, AK.  Need we say more?

Breathe

RC has become a beast behind the camera over the years.  From competing against him at the Simms Shoot Out in 2012 his progression has been rapid.  This film of his came out about 4 years ago but still rings true as ever.  Fishing is good for the soul and sometimes all you need is a deep breath and a fly rod in hand.

New Zealand – Dream Come True

Great music, big trout, & beautiful New Zealand.  This is a more recent piece and many fishing films have come out of NZ but this one we seemed to like a bit more than the rest.  Did we mention we’ve got a trip in the works?

Early Morning Jungle Poon

The music and editing might be a bit jarring but the shots at 1:40 and 3:00 are easily worth the admission.

Plan B

Faceless Fly Fishing has been around for a good long while and this film from 5 years ago is a classic.  Cutties, bull trout, browns, brookies and falling buildings.

The Field Coffee Diary – Ep4 – A Late Hatch

Rolf with more poetry in motion.

Streamers Inc.

Breaking the mold here with a funny parody about streamer fisherman.

Knocking On The Door

The next generation is here.  These guys are all about stoking out the next generation and embracing the next wave of anglers to take up fly fishing.

Picking only 10 makes it tough so please share with us in the comments some of your favorite fishing films that are free and online!

Zack Boughton

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BIG GULPS – VIDEO

salmonfly, fishing, montana, video

The Salmonfly, one of the biggest meals on a trout’s menu.  It’s one of our favorite times to be on the water.  Last summer we took the camera out for a few days to capture a bit of why we love that time of year.  BIG GULPS is descriptive of the big eats that these bugs elicit from the trout that call Western Montana home.

If you missed the blog post giving a bit more info about the film and our fishing see the other post right HERE.

Also, if you didn’t quite get what you had hoped for this Christmas please visit our store and consider some of our branded apparel.  The purchase of this gear helps us make more free films for you in the future.  Shop here > MONTANA WILD STORE

-Zack Boughton

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BIG GULPS – Salmonfly Fishing SW Montana

salmonfly, fishing, montana, brown trout
salmonfly, nymph, montana, hatch

Pteronarcys californica

Late each spring salmonfly nymphs begin their migration towards banks, rock walls, logs, boulders and any other good structure where they can hatch.  The largest of stonefly here in Montana mean big food for all the fish in the river.  The hatch exists across the Western part of our state and in many areas across the Western half of the US.  It’s something anglers wait for and anticipate.  My first good taste of this hatch was in 2013 when good friend Dan “Rooster” Leavens, owner of the The Stonefly Inn, called me and said it was on.  I grabbed my camera and showed up for two great days of fishing.  Those days proved to be enough for a short film and Bareback Rider was created (watch below).

Since then we’ve fished the hatch in many places and had many memorable days.  This year we wanted to return to some of the areas that were quite renowned for their salmonfly fishing and take the camera out for a few days.  Fishing a massive dry fly is something I enjoy and love to capture.  This year we were able to get out ahead of the hatch and try to watch it progress and learn more of the intricacies of this impressive bug.

salmonfly fishing, montana, montanawild, film

Where they at?

Early on the fish didn’t key in on the dry.  As a few adults would begin to hatch you’d think it would be popping off at any second.  An hour later and you hadn’t had one fish rise to the big bug.  Nymphing, streamers and other small dries were the ticket to getting fish in the boat those first few days out.  As to be expected when the fish started looking up for the salmonfly the word got out.  It wasn’t unusual to see 10-20 trailers at all the main fishing access sites along the river.  Fish were to be had but catch a few and pull over for a quick photo and you just might get passed by a handful of boats.

salmonfly hatch, montana, fishing, brown trout

Travis kicking the morning off with a slab of butter.

Some days I didn’t know which was better, be out in front and be the first bug the fish see or sit back and let the other boats create the hatch.  We had big fish eat both ways and regardless of pressure you’ll always have those fish sitting in the spot that only 10% of anglers can either cast to or get a good drift through.

salmonfly hatch, bug, tula hats, babe, fishing

Sunny, warm days, salmonflies and pretty women in the front of the boat. Life is good.

brown trout, huge, big, massive, montana, salmonfly hatch, film, video

The “if you’re real lucky” salmonfly eater

At the end of the year we’d gotten enough shots to piece together a short film.  Monday the 9th we’ll release our latest fishing film, BIG GULPS, here on the website!

Zack Boughton

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Summer Fishing is Tight!

summer, fishing, montana

We’re now in the midst of summer and it’s a great time to be outside for most of the country.  Here in Montana its been a great summer so far.  Even though it’s not technically summer we think of June as summer anyways.  That’s when we start getting back out on the water in full force.  It’s a time for salmonflies, early mornings, brown trout, big dries, streamer eats, laughs, roadtrips, sunscreen and lots of great scenery.  This year we got to explore some new water in Southwest Montana and it didn’t fail to impress.  Did we mention summer fishing is tight!?

salmonfly, hatch, montana, bug

June is all about stoneflies!

salmonfly, hatch, montana, bighole, river, maddie, sieler

Maddie with an early morning brown trout caught on a salmonfly.

The salmonfly hatch is one that is no secret here in Montana.  It happens in most of the Western half of the state but at different times.  Trying to chase the hatch and learn what makes the bugs hatch and what makes the fish eat is something that you could spend a lifetime learning.  Whether you know what your doing or not it’s damn fun to watch a fish rise to a bug the size of your pinky!

salmonfly, bugs, hatch, montana, flies

The days menu.

madison, river, montana, fly fishing, salmonfly, sunrise

Early morning on the Madison. Sometimes it pays to be out early and other times it doesn’t.

fly fishing, montana, salmonfly, hatch, wild, madison, river

Travis striking gold on one of the first few days where the fish were looking up.

Once you’ve started throwing the salmonfly around it’s sure hard to put anything else on the end of your line.  Jumping from river to river though means you might be ahead or behind the hatch.  Sometimes you’re early or the fish are just too full to look up that day and things slow down considerably.  When you’ve had enough you tie on a streamer and see what happens, it usually works out to your advantage.

montana, wild, brown trout, streamers, summer

Who says you can’t fish streamers mid-day under the sun?

fishing, montana, salmonfly, hatch

Back to running banks with the salmonfly

fly fishing, montana, take-out, driftboats, summer

Don’t expect to have the rivers to yourself this time of year. Still plenty of fish and fun times to be had!

With summer comes our love for the smaller water tucked away in the backcountry of Montana.  It’s where we first developed our love for fly fishing and it seems we always carve out a little time to get back and throw dries to hungry trout.  The scenery isn’t bad either.

fishing, montana, backcountry, wild, trout

A little work is necessary to navigate some of these waters.

montana, fishing, summer, backcountry, cutthroat, trout

Enjoying the appetite of these native fish and the great places they live!

Even though we had a pretty solid winter, it seems our snowpack has burned off quickly.  Rivers are getting low and Hoot Owl is out on quite a few rivers now.  We generally shift our mindset over to hunting and scouting this time of year, but if you do get to spend some time on the rivers be sure to remember the fish are already worn down with the warming water and low flows.  Be looking for a new film to be dropping here next week!! Also, thanks to all who read and support our content. As a small thank you we will be offering free USA shipping to you through the remainder of July. Just use coupon code: FREESUMMER at checkout!

-Written by Zack Boughton

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The Spring Fish Window

big, brown, trout, montana

May is one weird month for fishing here in Montana.  The weather is warming up and the rivers tend to be all over the place.  Some years your only real option is the Missouri.  Other years you can fish in town the entire month of May with exceptional fishing.  It’s a month where staying local with the ability to hit the river at a moments notice can really pay off big.  This spring we had a big push of water come through for a few weeks.  Rivers were up with okay fishing if you knew all the right spots to target.  The Missouri was the obvious choice for many anglers.  It was crazy busy at times, but exceptional dry fly fishing could be had when the conditions lined up.  This past week though, all the local Missoula rivers dropped hard over the course of a few days.  Cold temps up high shut down runoff momentarily and the fish took note.  When Josh called saying I needed to fish tomorrow I listened.  Over time I’ve learned that when Josh says we need to fish he’s almost always right.  We met up early the next morning and took the raft out for a rip.

brown trout, bucknasty, montana, missoula, fishing, streamers, spring

The brown trout were on the prowl.

brown trout, bucknasty, montana, missoula, fishing, streamers, spring

More aggressive browns.

brown trout, bucknasty, montana, missoula, fishing, streamers, spring, wild

Montana Shark

brown trout, bucknasty, montana, missoula, fishing, streamers, spring, wild

Chunky dude. Going into summer strong.

brown trout, bucknasty, montana, missoula, fishing, streamers, spring, big

Patience with the fly allowed Josh to hook this beast and a wild rodeo ensued. Fortunately he found the net.

We made an extra long float and I’m glad we did.  The action wasn’t consistent throughout the day.  The morning was hot and then things tapered off.  Sticking to the gameplan and fishing hard through the cold water kept us in the game and at the end of the day we’d definitely caught a healthy number of big brown trout.  Life is good!

Written by Zack Boughton

Images by Josh Rokosch and Zack Boughton

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Smith River, Montana – Part 3

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If you missed Part 2 you can read it here > Smith River, Montana – Part 2

Part 3 – The Trip Days 4&5 and Our Thoughts

The last two days of our trip were blessed with more sun and gradually warmer weather.  The only decent fishing we saw the last two days was mid-afternoon on Day 4 when a gray drake hatch came off for a few hours.  Fish were stacked in pods along a few banks and in some foam lines where a dropped anchor and a few casts through the right zone resulted in fish.  Again the views were stellar to finish out the trip.  Enjoy the photos from the last two days and I’ll wrap up below with my thoughts on the current state of the Smith River.

smith river, camp, breakfast, simms fishing, fly fishing, trout, montana, wild

Each morning brought about a battle with frozen gear but slowly warmed with a good meal and sun finally peaking over the horizon.

smith river, fishing, copper mine, black butte, tintina, conservation, fishing

Hey guys, it’s another sick cliff wall. Weird.

smith river, rainbow, trout, fishing, camping

Brandon with a nice rainbow caught along an overhanging rock wall.

smith river, montana, fishing, party, traffic jam, rafting

Solitude? The eddy to hike to the main pictograph cave was a zoo!

smith river, montana, pictographs, cave, fishing, skull, film, video, 2016

Moments from Day 4.

smith river, mine, montana, copper, rainbow, trout, fishing, maddie sieler

Maddie with another parachute sipping rainbow. This one caught inches off a rock face after a dozen casts to get the right drift.

smith river, fishing, montana, mine, copper, save the smith, tintina

Fishing hard despite the tough water conditions.

smith river, canoe, montana, america, flag

‘Merica

smith river, montana, fishing, hooked up, rafting, mine, copper, sheep creek

Awesome to see the ladies crushing it with the fly rod!

camping, smith river, montana, wild, film, video, fishing

Final night on the Smith River.

smith river, camp, cooking, trout, whiskey, steak, wild, elk

Keeping things fresh on the last night.

Thoughts on the current State of the Smith

First off I strongly feel that the Smith River Drainage is a resource and area that we need to preserve for generations to come.  Whether it’s fisherman, campers, recreational floaters, mountain bikers, hunters, ranchers, etc we need to make sure this valley continues to thrive naturally as it has since it was settled by early cattle and sheep ranchers.  I have my own personal thoughts on the proposed mine and those are constantly evolving as the process and situation continues to progress.  I think right now given what I’ve read and seen that the mine is a bad deal for Montanan’s and the Smith River Valley.  Our historic track record with mines has only resulted in mine companies making their money extracting resources and then the waste and damage is left with the people of Montana and public taxpayers.  Mining is a subject that is a double edged sword in my head though.  Our society relies on mining in almost all aspects of our lives.  Is it right to be ok with mines in South America and Asia that tarnish their environments because we never have to live with the consequences or eye sores of those mines?  Do we really care about conservation and the environment or do we only care when it’s in our own backyard and effects our happiness? I think there are ways to responsibly mine and have minimal impacts on the surrounding areas.  We just need to be active in making sure all parties are accountable and that we have good forward vision with each project that comes up.  Most importantly though, we all need to be involved in these subjects and do our own research.  Don’t believe what Trout Unlimited or Tintina Resources tells you just because they sent you an email or postcard with some fancy facts and info on it.  Don’t let a social media post sway your opinion.  Go read, talk to people about it, experience it first hand, dig a little deeper, gain an understanding and most importantly BE ENGAGED!!!  That process is so, so important on so many issues we currently face as sportsmen and as people who love wild places and public lands and waters.

-Written by Zack Boughton

-Photos by Travis Boughton, Zack Boughton, Calvin Connor

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Smith River, Montana – Part 2

smith river, montana, copper mine, fishing, trout

If you missed Part 1 you can read it here > Smith River, Montana – Part 1

Part 2 – The Trip Days 1-3

Day 1 broke under a fresh couple inches of snow.  A light snow filtered through a soft glow steadily growing over the eastern horizon.  The diesel turned over and we pulled the boats over towards the launch.  After a few minutes of playful jabbing about the weather we took it upon ourselves to unload the snowy boats and begin our day.

fly fishing, montana, smith river, snow, spring, raft

And the adventure begins…

smith river, montana, camp baker, fishing, spring, 2016, crosscurrents

The fleet for the week.

A little over an hour later and we had our three rafts in the water and loaded with our gear for the next 5 days.  Despite the frozen hands and a bitter edge on the day the overall moral was high and everyone was eager to start our push downriver.  One thing we had been concerned with over the past week was the condition of the river.  A long week of warm and sunny weather had sent a push of water downriver from the mountains and had bumped the river.  The water clarity wasn’t ideal but from all reports it seemed that the river would give up fish in all but the dirtiest of flows.  After the group shotgunned a beer we split up and pushed off.  The next few hours went off without a hitch and the weather had yet to unleash more than a light snow and a gentle breeze.

montana, smith river, fishing, snow

Beautiful although cold.

Montana quickly showed her teeth though.  A brutal wind out of the West whipped up the canyon and fired the wet snow in a horizontal pattern that had us wishing we had brought ski goggles.  The fishing was slow for those willing to freeze their hands working a streamer or nymphs along the fishy water which was hard to find with clarity that was all but nonexistent.  As we pushed into the afternoon we switched gears from fishing to just making it to camp so we could attempt to build a fire.

smith river, montana, fishing, floating, camping, snow, spring

Battling the elements on Day 1.

fly fishing, smith, river, montana, spring, snow, trout

Sam hooking up during a warm-up break.

rock creek, fishing, smith river, montana, spring, float

The snow breaks as we finally make camp on Day 1.

After finding some wet wood along the float we finally rounded our last bend of the day and anchored up to set up our first camp of the trip.  Everyone was feeling cold and wet despite plenty of Gore-Tex and warm layers.  The first order of business was to build a fire.  A strong group effort resulted in a fire finally gaining some strength and we began the process of piecing together camp and a warm meal.  (Tip #1 – although you can find wood along the float, I’d recommend bringing fire wood with you for each night.  Wet wood sucks and most campsites have very little in terms of firewood near camp)

smith river, montana, camping, fishing, cooking

A sick view, fishable water, a hot meal, and a fire. Life is good.

dinner, elk steaks, elk, montana, fishing, camping

Elk steak and potatoes for dinner.

With a belly full of elk meat and potatoes we all huddled tight to the fire until the urge to sleep overcame any warmth the dwindling fire could provide.  With calculated promptness we all found our ways into our sleeping bags and tents hoping the next morning would break with clear skies and a touch of Montana sun.  A quick peek from the tent in the morning revealed blue skies.  That short moment of happiness was quickly humbled by taking one look at the frozen waders and boots littered around camp.  A team effort set in motion a small fire and a breakfast of bacon and eggs and a warm cup of coffee.  As the sun finally rose high enough to throw it’s warm rays on our camp Sam hooked into the first fish of the day, a nice golden brown who wanted a red worm breakfast.

smith river, brown, trout, montana, spring, copper mine

Always good to hook a good one before you even push off for the day.

With the storm gone and the sun out we finally could enjoy some warmth and some of the most stunning river views found in Montana.  With each bend of the river a new view seared it’s spot in our memories as we casually rowed and fished our way downriver.

smith river, montana, wild, floating, fishing, camping

A favorite headwall along Day 2.

smith river, filming, fishing, montana

Sam hooks another with Travis capturing the action.

smith river, whiskey, pendelton, fishing, camping

Smith River whiskey warm-up.

smith river, montana, fishing, floating, rafting, camping, 2016

A view worth saving.

fishing, smith river, montana, filming, trout, spring, 2016

A short wade session resulted in a few fish and few shots on film.

A few things were apparent by the end of Day 2.  The fishing was tough.  Our best fishing came when we pulled in and worked inside bends hard with nymphs.  It seemed a guys could pull a half dozen fish out of each good run if he wanted to put in the time.  Unfortunately with a good chunk of water to cover each day we couldn’t spend time in all the spots we wanted.  We also found good fishing at the low ends of the tributaries which were all open this year due to a new regulation change.  Again with little time to spare these moments were kept short and sweet but kept everyone in the game and catching fish.  The more obvious take-away from the day was that the Smith River is easy on the eyes.  The grandeur of the mighty rock walls and faces almost lose a bit of meaning since each bend reveals a new epic view.  As we floated beneath these towering giants I was surprised no one has died from falling rock.  With some cliff walls easily pushing a hundred feet or more, even a small rock would be life-threatening if it dislodged and found you at the bottom of its fall.  After a long day we pushed into camp and began the process of unloading the rafts and assembling camp.  With the forecast calling for more sun we hit the hay and got some much needed rest in anticipation of another long day starting early in the morning.

camping, smith river, montana, spring, hunting, rifles, camp, 2016

Pancakes and a couple rifles set on seeing a bear.

fishing, smith river, montana, trout, spring, floating, raft

Streamer fishing under savage towers of limestone.

fishing, smith river, montana, epic, landscape, tintina, mine

Montana proving again that it’s “The Last Best Place”.

Our goal for the afternoon was to go bear hunt on some public land near our camp.  A moderate hike put us up on a ridge we hoped held good grass.  Unfortunately the snow from our first day had stacked up and covered the hillside and ridge we were hunting.  We saw one set of bear tracks and a bunch of elk and deer tracks as we slowly climbed up above the Smith River canyon.  With little for options given the snow, we sat down and glassed the hill across the canyon to the north.  A few minutes in and Sam spotted a nice black bear traveling across the opposite hill.  The bear fed his way down into the timber as he dropped out of sight into the canyon looking for anything green.  With a precarious snow covered canyon below the decision was made to work back to camp and cook up dinner for the evening.

bear, hunting, smith river, montana

The beauty of the area extends far beyond the Smith River Canyon.

black bear, track, print, snow, montana, wild, smith river

There be bears in them hills!

To read about the rest of our trip and hear our thoughts on the current state of the Smith River read Part 3 which will be live on our site tomorrow!

-Written by Zack Boughton

-Photos by Travis Boughton, Zack Boughton, Calvin Connor

 

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Smith River, Montana – Part 1

SMITH RIVER, MONTANA

To protect a place or thing, you must appreciate and understand the value of it.  The greater the number of individuals that have that appreciation and value residing in their souls, the more support you have and the stronger the voice when a call to action is needed.  Although the Smith River is the only permitted recreational river in Montana and is enjoyed by thousands of outdoor enthusiasts each year, it continues to seemingly fly under the radar as a Montana destination in comparison to some of our other wildly famous resources.  That all has slowly been changing over the last year as a proposed copper mine has brought the beloved Smith River front and center.  Some cringe at the idea of more people knowing of their beloved spots and diluting their chances at drawing a permit yearly, but others see the necessity of a wider awareness and hope more people can become personally acquainted and educated on this beautiful river system and the overall majesty of the larger landscape of which the Smith River calls home.

smith river, montana, copper, mine, fly fishing, tintina

A classic look at Montana’s Smith River.

The Smith River is what I would call the Grand Canyon of Montana.  Flowing north out of the Big Belt, Little Belt and Castle Mountains it picks up size as it winds its way through windswept cattle country near White Sulfur Springs, Montana.  As it passes Camp Baker, where floaters put in on their 59 mile float, it dives into a deep limestone canyon that provides some of the most stunning river vistas Montana has to offer.  Cliff walls soar over corner after corner of this epic river and the beauty often distracts the fisherman from an eat of their fly by a hungry brown or rainbow trout.

fly, fishing, smith, river, montana, copper, mine, tintina, conservation, wild

This dynamic river is considered a red-ribbon trout fishery with trout densities back in 2011 averaging about 250 brown trout and 250 rainbow per mile in the upper stretches.  Angler-days averaged about 14,200 between 1982 and 2009.  The primary species to be hooked under these limestone walls are brown trout and rainbow trout, but cutthroat and brook trout do exist in lesser numbers as well.  Given the nature of the upper 100 miles of river it often runs a varying hue of brown for much of the first half of the float season.  Fishing a nymph will produce your best numbers but the Smith offers some exceptional dry fly fishing and great structure and pockets for the streamer junkie to target the larger fish in the river.

smith river, montana, brown, trout, wild, copper, mine, fishing

A nice Smith River brown trout.

Why the Smith is the #4 most Endangered River in America for 2015

Currently Tintina Resources is going through the permit process with Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality for an underground copper and related minerals mine in the Sheep Creek area.  Sheep Creek is a tributary to the Smith River and prime spawning habitat for native fish populations from as far away as the Missouri River hundreds of miles downstream.  The proposed mine has many worried.  A few of the concerns revolve around acid mine drainage and it’s potential effect on fish and other aquatic life, the potential for a lowered water table that could effect adjacent stream flows in a river system that already has to deal with low flows during the summer months, as well as groundwater contamination issues.  (More about the risks of the mine can be found in the links at the end of this post).  Now it’s a fact that our society and most all of us rely on mining in our daily lives.  I’m surely not anti-mining, but given Montana’s poor history with mines heavily polluting waterways it’s hard to not be highly concerned that we eventually will see many negative environmental effects from a mine such as this.  The Upper Clark Fork basin is currently one of the largest Super Fund sites in the nation due to a flood in 1908 that caused an open-pit copper mine in Butte to spill millions of tons of contaminated sediment downstream along the river for hundreds of miles (https://www.hcn.org/articles/clarkfork_superfund).

smith river, montana, wild, fishing, landscape, epic, conservation

Over hanging cliffs line a large portion of the Smith River.

With the debate raging on it was easy to see how both sides had valid points regarding their stance on the project.  One side wanted to protect the environment and recreational value of the resource and the other wanted to mine a valuable raw material our society demands while providing jobs to the local economy which currently has few to offer.  I figured the best way to feel out the subject was to actually get a first hand experience on the river.  Both my brother Travis and I had drawn permits for mid-April, and we knew that after 5 days on the river we’d have a much stronger opinion on the matter at hand.  As we spent time researching more about the river, I found that there was not much to be read or seen about the fishing on the river or the experience in general.  A quick Google search of “fly fishing the Smith River” led to the first page being dominated by outfitters and fly shops offering guided trips.  A read through these pages did provide some insight into the river but left more questions than it could answer.  A quick look at Youtube revealed an assortment of poor quality, handicam style videos that didn’t seem to showcase the grandeur of a place that was seemingly so epic and suddenly so threatened.  With little high quality content it seemed it would be hard for someone to understand the amazing value the resource had to offer without going on a trip firsthand.  Given the nature of our work we felt documenting our trip would be a great way to raise awareness for a resource that seemed to desperately need it.  It seemed that if thousands enjoyed the trip each year and our state was comprised of tens of thousands who enjoy fishing we could do better than only 8,022 signatures on a petition that needed 10,000 as of writing this.

smith river, montana, fly fishing, wild, copper mine, conservation

Looking for risers in the foam.

filming, smith river, montana, wild, video

Filming a nice cuttbow.

After a few weeks of quick planning we had arrived at Camp Baker with rafts, camping gear and a handful of cameras in tow.  Our group totaled only six people and only Sam had been here before.  Our goal was to see this resource firsthand and capture the trip through photo and video.  We had no big production crew, no big sponsors, no shot lists or scripts and no expectations, just a group of good friends, a beautiful river and five days of wild experience before us.  (Part 2 is now up on the site.  You can read it HERE > Part 2)

camp baker, smith river, montana, wild, gnar

Launch Day

To learn more about the Smith River Mine please see the following links:

Save Our Smith – (www.saveoursmith.com)

Tintina Resources – (www.tintinaresources.com)

Montana Environmental Information Center (www.meic.org/issues/smithriver)

Black Butte Copper – (www.blackbuttecopper.com)

Smith River Watch – (www.smithriverwatch.org)

Tintina’s mine proposal – (deq.mt.gov/Land/hardrock/tintinamines)

News Articles:

NY Times – (www.nytimes.com/smithriver)

Montana Kaimin – (www.montanakaimin.com/news/smith-river-mine)

Bozeman Chronicle 10/17/15 – (http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/opinions/guest_columnists/why-gamble-on-the-future-of-montana-s-smith-river)

Helena News 2/11/16 – (http://www.ktvh.com/2016/02/black-butte-copper-project-tintinas-technologies-part-3/)

 

-Written by Zack Boughton

-Photos by Travis Boughton, Zack Boughton, Calvin Connor, Maddie Sieler

 

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Spring Is King

fly fishing, montana, rainbow trout

A lot of people ask us when our favorite time to fish is and while summer may provide warmer weather and more options to fish, spring is king in our book.

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We simply mark spring as the time when the rivers lose their ice and temperatures start hitting the low 40s. The fish take note and if you can handle cold feet and hands, you’ll most likely land some of your biggest fish of the year.

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Spring fishing is a tough bet if you’re not a local considering weather patterns this time of year can vary a ton! Those weather patterns also have a big impact on flows and river temps. If you live here though you’re in luck. Watching the weather will pay off and many beautiful days can be found in February, March and April. Having a flexible work schedule helps a lot as well.

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Nymphing is going to be your big producer from February through mid March. If you’re not a purist throw on a worm and another nymph matching a local food source and you’ll be in business. It’s not flashy but it plain works. If you’re feeling a bit bolder, a streamer will pay off big time if you can push through the slow days that exist this early in the year.

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Anytime of day, any water type and any retrieve can and will pick up fish but a slow twitch or swing through slow 3-6’ of water tend to pick up the most fish this time of year. As the river temperature starts to tick upward the streamer bite can be off the charts and other than fall this is our favorite time to streamer fish.

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Once we get into the last couple weeks of March we start to see the skwala stonefly emerge. This hatch brings the big boys out of hiding and fishing big dries this early in the year is very hard to beat. Expect crowds once the word is out, but if you know where to look you can still have some banner days under the Big Sky tossing a dry and getting some vicious eats.

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As we move into April we see some absolutely great fishing across the board and the weather is typically much nicer between spring storms.

rainbow, trout, fly fishing, montana, spring, simms, skwala

Typically runoff starts showing up in late April and early May and from then on we wait until things shape up in June. This spring has already shaped up to be one that we won’t quickly forget and we’re only half way through it. Expect to see more from this spring in the future!

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-Zack